Imatges de pÓgina

recover from the palsy of their fright, Myrtle had flung the knife away from her, and was kneeling, her head bowed and her hands crossed upon her breast. The audience went into a rapture of applause as the curtain came suddenly down; but Myrtle had forgotten all but the dread peril she had just passed, and was thanking God that his angel - her own protecting spirit, as it seemed to her had stayed the arm which a passion such as her nature had never known, such as she believed was alien to her truest self, had lifted with deadliest purpose. She alone knew how extreme the danger had been. "She meant to scare her,—that's all," they said. But Myrtle tore the eagle's feathers from her hair, and stripped off her colored beads, and threw off her painted robe. The metempsychosis was far too real for her to let her wear the semblance of the savage from whom, as she believed, had come the lawless impulse at the thought of which her soul recoiled in horror.

"Pocahontas has got a horrid headache," the managing young ladies gave it out, "and can't come to time for the last tableau." So this all passed over, not only without loss of credit to Myrtle, but with no small addition to her local fame,- for it must have been acting; and was n't it stunning to see her with that knife, looking as if she was going to stab Bella, or to scalp her, or something?"


As Master Gridley had predicted, and as is the case commonly with newcomers at colleges and schools, Myrtle came first in contact with those who were least agreeable to meet. The low-bred youth who amuse themselves with scurvy tricks on freshmen, and the vulgar girls who try to show off their gentility to those whom they think less important than themselves, are exceptions in every institution; but they make themselves odiously prominent before the quiet and modest young people have had time to gain the new scholar's confidence. Myrtle found friends

in due time, some of them daughters of rich people, some poor girls, who came with the same sincerity of purpose as herself. But not one was her match in the facility of acquiring knowledge. Not one promised to make such a mark in society, if she found an opening into its loftier circles. She was by no means ignorant of her natural gifts, and she cultivated them with the ambition which would not let her rest.

During the year she spent in the great school, she made but one visit to Oxbow Village. She did not try to startle the good people with her accomplishments, but they were surprised at the change which had taken place in her. Her dress was hardly more showy, for she was but a school-girl, but it fitted her more gracefully. She had gained a softness of expression, and an ease in conversation, which produced their effect on all with whom she came in contact. Her aunt's voice lost something of its plaintiveness in talking with her. Miss Cynthia listened with involuntary interest to her stories of school and schoolmates. Master Byles Gridley accepted her as the great success of his life, and determined to make her his sole heiress, if there was any occasion for so doing. Cyprian told Bathsheba that Myrtle must come to be a great lady. Gifted Hopkins confessed to Susan Posey that he was afraid of her, since she had been to the great city school. She knew too much, and looked too much like a queen, for a village boy to talk with.

Mr. William Murray Bradshaw tried all his fascinations upon her, but she parried compliments so well, and put off all his nearer advances so dexterously, that he could not advance beyond the region of florid courtesy, and never got a chance, if so disposed, to risk a question which he would not ask rashly, believing that, if Myrtle once said No, there would be little chance of her ever saying Yes.


WHEN the first wave of patriotism

rolled over the land at the outbreak of the late Rebellion, fathers and mothers were proudly willing to send forth sons and daughters to take their part in the struggle. The young men were speedily marshalled and marched to the scene of action; but the young women were not so fortunate in getting off to places in the hospitals before the first ardor of excitement had cooled. Indeed, all hospital organization was in such an imperfect state that no definite plan could be made for ladies desiring to enter upon the good work.

Then came grave doubts from sage heads as to the propriety and expediency of young women's going at all. One said that they would always be standing in the way of the doctors; another, that they would run at the first glimpse of a wounded man, or certainly faint at sight of a surgical instrument; others still, that no woman's strength could endure for a week the demands of hospital life. In fact, it was looked upon as the most fanatical folly, and suggestions were made that at least a slight experiment of hospital horrors ought to be made before starting on such a mad career. Accordingly, in Boston, a few who cherished the project most earnestly began a series of daily visits to the Massachusetts. General Hospital. To the courtesy and kindness of Dr. B. S. Shaw and the attending surgeons, especially Dr. J. Mason Warren, these novices were indebted for the privilege of witnessing operations and being taught the art of dressing wounds. The omission of fainting on the part of the new pupils rather disappointed general expectation; and though the knowledge gained in a few weeks was superficial, yet for practical purposes the nurses were not deemed totally incompetent.

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After receiving a certificate of fitness for the work from medical authority, it was discouraging at last to be denied the consent of parents. However, some favored ones went forth, and, returning home in a few months, brought back such accounts of satisfaction in finding themselves of use, and of their enjoyment in ministering to our suffering soldiers, that at length the prejudices which withheld consent were overcome, and one of the last of those who went was allowed to take part in the most interesting duties to which the war called women.

I have often thought that one day of hospital employment, with its constant work and opportunities, was worth a year of ordinary life at home, and I remember with thankfulness how many times I was permitted to take the place of absent mothers and sisters in caring for their sons and brothers. It seemed to me that we women in the hospitals received our reward a hundred-fold in daily sights of patient heroism, and expressions of warm gratitude, and that we did not deserve mention or remembrance in comparison with the thousands at home whose zeal never wearied in labors indirect and unexciting, until the day of victory ended their work.

No place in the country could have been better adapted to the uses of a hospital than the grounds and buildings belonging to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, enclosed on two sides, as they are, by an arm of the Chesapeake Bay and the river Severn, and blessed with a varied view, and fresh, invigorating breezes. At the opening of the war General Butler landed troops at this point, thus communicating with Washington without passing through Baltimore. The Naval School was immediately removed to Newport, where it remained until after the close of our

national troubles. The places of the young students preparing for the naval service were soon filled by the sick and wounded of the volunteer armies.

The city of Annapolis is old and quaint. Unlike most of our American capitals, it gives a stranger the impression of having been finished for centuries, and one would imagine that the inhabitants are quite too contented to have any idea of progress or improvement. The Episcopal church, destroyed by fire a few years since, has been rebuilt; but even that is crowned with the ancient wooden tower rescued from the flames, and preserved in grateful memory of Queen Anne, who bestowed valuable gifts on this church of her namesake city.

Within easy access of all the conveniences of a city, and with excellent railroad facilities, the hospital grounds were perfectly secluded by surrounding walls. As one entered through the high gates, an indescribable repose was felt, enhanced by the charm with which Nature has endowed the spot, in the abundant shade, evergreen, and fruit trees, and rose-bushes, holly, and other shrubbery. The classical naval monument, formerly at the Capitol in Washington, has within a few years been removed, and with two others — one of which perpetuates the memory of the adventurous Herndon-stands here. The wharf built for the embarkation of the Burnside Expedition in 1861 is also here. About sixty brick buildings, comprising the chapel, postoffice, dispensary, and laundry, with long rows of tents stretched across the grassy spaces, afforded accommodation for patients varying from five hundred to twenty-two hundred in number.

In the summer of 1863, Dr. B. A. Vanderkeift was appointed surgeon in charge of the U. S. General Hospital, Division I., at Annapolis, more frequently called the Naval School Hospital. Dr. Vanderkeift, from his uncommon energy of character, his large experience, and rare executive ability, was admirably fitted for his position. By day and night he never spared himVOL. XX. NO. 118.


self in the most watchful superintendence of all departments of the hospital; no details were too minute for his care, no plan too generous which could tend to the comfort of the suffering. Absolute system and punctuality were expected to be observed by all who came under his military rule. The reveille bugle broke the silence of early dawn. Its clear notes, repeated at intervals during the day, announced to the surgeons the time for visits and reports, and to the men on duty—such as the guards, police, nurses, and cooksthe time for their meals. One of the most original of the Doctor's plans was the establishment of a stretcher corps. At one time there was daily to be seen upon the green in front of head-quarters a company of men, ward-masters, nurses, and cooks, performing the most surprising evolutions, playing alternately the parts of patients and nurses, studying by experiment, under the eye and direction of skilful surgeons, the most comfortable method of conveying the helpless. In this way the stretcher corps acquired an amount of skill and tenderness which was brought into good use when the long roll on the drum summoned them to meet an approaching transport, bringing either the wounded from the last battle-field, or the emaciated victims who had been held as prisoners of war at the South.


Shortly after Dr. Vanderkeift came to the hospital, he invited "Sister Tyler" to take the head of the ladies' department. She will always be remembered as identified with the war from the very beginning. She was the only woman in Baltimore who came forward on the 19th of April, 1861, when the men of our Massachusetts Sixth were massacred in passing through that city. insisted upon being permitted to see the wounded, and with dauntless devotion, in the face of peril, had some of them removed to her own home, where she gave them the most faithful care for many weeks. These men were but the first few of thousands who can never forget the kindness received from her hands, the words of cheer which

came from her lips. Until within ten months of the closing events of the war, she was constantly engaged in hospital service, and then only left for Europe because too much exhausted to continue longer in the work. “Sister Tyler" had supervision of the hospital, and of the fourteen ladies who had a subdivision of responsibility rest ing upon each of them. Their duties consisted in the special care of the wards assigned them, and particular attention to the diet and stimulants; they supplied the thousand nameless little wants which occurred every day, furnished books and amusements, wrote for and read to the men, - did everything, in fact, which a thoughtful tact could suggest without interfering with surgeons or stewards.

Dr. Vanderkeift wisely considered nourishing diet of more importance than medicine. There were three departments for the preparation of low and special diet, over each of which a lady presided. The cooks and nurses, throughout the hospital, were furnished from the number of convalescent patients not fit to go to the front. They made excellent workers in these positions, learning with a ready intelligence their new duties, and performing them with cheerful compliance; but they often regained their strength too rapidly, and the whole order and convenience of kitchens and wards would be thrown into wild confusion by a stern mandate from Washington, that every able-bodied man was to go to his regiment. No matter what the exigency of the case might be, these men were despatched in haste. Then came a new training of men, some on crutches, some with one hand, and all far from strong. When the ladies remonstrated at having such men put on duty, they were told that feebleness must be made good by numbers, and it was no uncommon thing for four or five crippled men to be employed in the work of one strong one. These changes made wild confusion for a few days, but gradually we began to consider them a part of the fortunes of war, and to find that a sto

ical tranquillity was the best way in which to meet them. Though exceedingly inconvenient, there was rarely any serious result attending them. Occasionally a lady would be fortunate enough to evade the loss of a valuable man by sending him into the city on an errand, or by keeping him out of sight while an inspection was going on. In this way my chief of staff, as I used to call a certain German youth, was kept a year in the hospital. His efficiency and constant interest in the patients made him a valuable auxiliary in my little department; and I know that his services were appreciated by others than myself, for one of the chief surgeons advised me to keep him by all means, even if hiding him in the icechest were necessary.

The regular supplies from the commissary were comparatively plentiful, but fell short of the demand, both as to quantity and variety. The Christian and Sanitary Commissions met this want in great measure, providing good stimulants, dried fruits, butter, and various other luxuries. But with the utmost delight were received boxespacked by generous hands at home. I shall ever feel indebted to many Boston friends for their laborious care and munificent contributions. One of them, Mrs. James Reed, has now entered upon the full reward of a life rich in noble impulses and kindly deeds. Her cordial sympathy for those languishing in distant hospital wards was manifested in sending gifts of the choicest and most expensive home luxuries.

A gentleman well known in England, as well as our own country, for his friendly patronage of art, was never forgetful of our warriors in their dreary days of suffering. Many a cheery message did he send in letters, and never without liberal "contents." His name was gratefully associated by the men with bountiful draughts of punch and milk, fruits, ice-cream, and many other satisfying good things. His request

was never to allow a man to want for anything that money could buy; and though " peanuts and oranges"-of

which he desired the men should have plenty were not always the most judicious articles of diet, the spirit of his command was strictly obeyed.

Mrs. Alexander Randall, who lived near the hospital at Annapolis, was exceedingly kind in sending in timely delicacies for the men. Fruits and flowers from her own garden in lavish profusion were the constant expressions of her thoughtful interest. I remember especially one morning when a poor boy who was very low could not be persuaded to take any food; many tempting things had been suggested, but with feeble voice he said that some grapes were all that he cared for. It was early in the season, and they could not be bought. But just at this moment Mrs. Randall opportunely sent in some beautiful clusters. The countenance of the dying boy brightened with delight as he saw them. They made his last moments happy, for within half an hour he turned his head on the pillow, and with one short sigh was gone.

The large basketfuls of rosy apples from this lady were hailed with the utmost delight by those allowed to eat them. "I have wanted an apple more than anything," was often the eager reply, as they were offered to those who had recently come from a long captivity; and as they were distributed through the wards, not the least gratifying circumstance was the invariable refusal of the ward-masters and nurses to take any. Their diet was not sumptuous, and apples were a great luxury to all; but they would say, "No, thank you, let the men who have just come have them all."

On the 17th of November, 1863, the steamer New York came in, bringing one hundred and eighty men from Libby Prison and Belle Isle. Most of these were the soldiers who had fought at Gettysburg. Never was there an army in the world whose health and strength were better looked after than our own; the weak and sick were always sent to the general hospitals; and the idea that our men were ever in other

than the most sound and robust condition at the time of their becoming prisoners has no foundation. Language fails to describe them on their return from the most cruel of captivities. Ignominious insults, bitter and galling threats, exposure to scorching heat by day and to frosty cold at night, torturing pangs of hunger, - these were the methods by which stalwart men had been transformed into ghastly beings with sunken eyes and sepulchral voices. They were clothed in uncleanly rags, many without caps, and most without shoes. Their hair and beards were overgrown and matted. The condition of their teeth was the only appearance of neatness about them: and these were as white as ivory, from eating bread made of corn and cobs ground up together. A piece of such bread four inches square daily, with a morsel of meat once a week and a spoonful of beans three times a week, had been their food for several months. Some were too far gone to bear the strain of removal from the steamer; nine died on the day of arrival, and one third of the whole number soon followed them. Roses, which had lingered through the mellow autumn, were wreathed with laurel and laid upon their coffins as they were carried into the beautiful little chapel for the funeral services, before they were laid in the government cemetery, about a mile from the hospital. It is a lovely place, with many trees surrounding its gentle slopes; and here thousands sleep, with their name, rank, company, and regiment inscribed upon wooden slabs. But "Unknown" is the only sad record on many a headboard. These were men who died either on transports, or who when brought to us were too much impaired in mind to remember anything, for the loss or derangement of mental faculties was no uncommon occurrence. When the first cases of starvation were brought under treatment, the doctors prescribed the lightest diet, mostly rice, soup, and tea. By experiment it was proved that just as many died in proportion under this

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